Well, after thinking about and playing with it, I decided to keep the H-2 from Nine Circles. It's decent for the cheap price, size 26 is a little short, but I can live with it, spending time and money to ship it back and try to get a refund (you have to write a letter explaining why,...) since they have nothing better to exchange it with and playing with himo I can make it reasonably secure. I won't get another one from them and can't recommend it given the cut and feel but I'll make do with this for now. This will just be my trash hakama to take a lot of wear and tear while I see if I can repair my bujin hakama and think about splurging on Tozanda hakama, thinking about 100% polyester one, but really wish I could feel the material first and see how it hangs. I do need something more presentable for demos and more formal occasions and the knees of cotton and cotton blends just don't hold up.
Also this item at e-bogu gave me ideas....
e-bogu himo extensions
though two 10 in strips for $10 is kind of outrageous price. Really need 20 in strips
Never been fond of shopping for clothes online.